Shammika Munugoda – founder of Boomeringo

Shammika Munugoda, founder of Boomeringo, is a software engineer who has over a decade of experience in the software, web and mobile app industry.

In 2005 Shammika arrived in Melbourne as an international student from Sri Lanka. Being an international student meant he was only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. His years as a financially strapped student were an influencing force in the development of Boomeringo. Shammika’s vision is to make financial management simple, easy and accessible to everyone in Australia.

After graduating from RMIT with a bachelor degree and a Master of Enterprise Architecture from Swinburne University, Shammika moved on to UniJobs.com.au – the popular university job board, working as their CTO and collaborating with all the 39 universities in Australia. He has been instrumental in making UniJobs a global brand.

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Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

Boomeringo is a secure platform that consolidates all of your finances into one dashboard – including bank accounts, credit cards and loans. It comes with a range of very simple yet useful tools for tracking and managing your money.

After years of struggling as a uni student, I secured full-time employment in 2007 after which my frugal student budget was abandoned, and it wasn’t long before I became complacent with my cash flow. I knew I needed a simple way to organise my finances, but was frustrated with the existing money management tools that were clunky, time consuming and complicated. I set out to develop a simple budgeting tool which allowed me to keep track of my income and expenses, and that led me to the vision of making money management simple, easy and accessible to everyone in Australia.

That was the beginning of Boomeringo. What started as a simple budgeting tool for my own personal use, today connects to all major Australian banks and a growing number of financial institutions.

Explain your pricing strategy?

We have adopted a “Pay What You Want” model for user subscriptions. We knew we wanted to make the service accessible to everyone. Our users pay what they feel our service is worth to them – this is branching away from conventional set pricing.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?

Currently we are finalising the smartphone applications of Boomeringo, which are due to be released to the App Store and Google Play Store this April.

How do you make ideas happen?

For me, ideas are about problem solving. I find ideas often happen organically, in everyday scenarios. All of us feel frustrated at times with an existing method or tool or general way of doing something, and I think that is where ideas often begin – feeling frustrated, then recognizing where the gaps are, and thinking of solutions to fix them.

Set goals – evaluate progress – repeat.

What does your typical day look like?

No two days are the same, but generally they all follow a certain pattern. The idea is to get the most important tasks out of the way as early as possible. Once they are done, it’s much easier to concentrate on more problem solving tasks which typically need a bit more attention. Tracking metrics and analytics of our website and seeing how it is progressing is something I do on a daily basis.

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What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

Funding – Being a bootstrapped startup, cash flow is obviously one of the biggest problems facing any startup. Aside from that, adding talent has been our next challenge – finding the right people.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Never underestimate the power of self education. You might well be a technical person, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a go at something like marketing, sales or any other aspects of your business. With online courses, eBooks, podcasts, there are plenty of cost effective ways to learn something new every week.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in Australia at the moment?

Canva.com – It’s amazing how much they’ve grown over the last 2 years. They’ve actually managed to get Guy Kawasaki on board, that itself speaks how much they’ve grown as a company.

Atlassian.com – I’ve always been a fan of Mike and Scott and their products, two real hustlers who kept pushing forward no matter what, I love their story; how they got started, how they overcame adverseries; it’s all very inspiring.

Lifx.com & auug.com for the novelty of their ideas.

What about internationally?

Stripe.com – It is so easy to implement

Uber.com – It is amazing to see how rapidly they’re growing

Square.com – for its innovation.

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

Business has a lot of opportunity to drive significant social change through innovation. Also, though professional volunteering and partnerships – so that areas of skill and expertise, as well as knowledge and time are shared. I think this is increasingly important given the increasingly complex challenges society is facing.

Speaking of affecting social change, we’ve teamed up with Shout for Good to encourage readers to ‘shout a coffee’ to charity by clicking the button below. Is there a particular charity you’d like to support?

There are plenty of charities out there who are doing some amazing work for the community, but I particularly like what The Smith Family does helping disadvantaged kids.

I am also a big fan of “Lentil As Anything”, a series of restaurants who have implemented the “Pay What You Want” pricing strategy. It’s a concept that’s evolving, with restaurants, coffee shops and even design agencies experimenting with it. These guys help charities, volunteers and actively add value to the community in a really big way.

There’s a great TEDx talk by Shanaka Fernando, the founder of Lentil As Anything, who is one of the pioneers of this concept, you can find it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jodpW59On7g

Name 4 websites you would recommend to our readers.

HootSuite.com – This has been a life saver. For scheduling and organising your social media content, and especially when you’re under the pump, it’s so easy to forget and neglect your social media presence.

Fiverr.com/FreeLancer.com/ODesk.com/Elance.com – Freelancing marketplaces give you the skillset that you otherwise have to source yourself.

Canva.com – I’m an engineer, so I know I can make things work, but not necessarily make them look pretty. Canva lets me achieve that easily.

Producteev.com – A simple project management tool

Name 5 Australians we should follow on Twitter.

Matt Barrie – Founder of Freelancer.com

Jack Delosa – A 26 year old who hangs out with Sir Richard Branson. He’s the founder of The Entourage.

Melanie Perkins – Founder of Canva.com

Jehan Ratnatunga – Aussie comedian who now works for YouTube in LA. You probably remember him from that funny Mickey mouse proposal video that went viral.

Hugh Jackman – Just because, he is Hugh Jackman

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

Absolutely, we are always looking for new talent. We are looking to expand the business and recruit the right people who believe in our product.

We are also actively looking for funding from angel investors who are willing to join our journey.

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?

I’d be interested to see what others did to find their product market fit? What are the early signs.

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant in Melbourne?

Lentil as Anything – my inspiration of the Pay What You Want pricing strategy. It is completely run by volunteers, and on the strength of the generosity of their diners. I think those guys are doing something great.

 

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